February 2, 2017
Alas, poor Dumont...
They Stand Accused was basically a good show. and this is an interesting episode. Considering the fate of the rest of the Dumont archive, it's a wonder we are able to watch it at all. This could have been a great show, but it seems to have run afoul of the same nemesis as every other Dumont program: under funding. Unlike the other three networks, Dumont did not have a profitable radio network to sustain it during the early lean years when everybody didn't have a tv set.
The first reviewer says this is "Excellent live TV." It isn't. Competent actors with good support, and adequate rehearsal time could and did pull off live shows with only an occasional blown line or missed cue, and even then, you usually had to look fast and listen closely, or they would slide the flub right past you unnoticed. Even some soap operas, which were done live every day in the 1950s, had better acting than this. Special effects, and even fight scenes usually went off with no or only minor glitches on the 3 major network shows.
But, still you gotta love Dumont. They were the scrappy underdog, that soldiered on to the very end, and in my book they deserved an A for effort, instead of just being relegated to the trash heap of tv history. They were determined, innovative, and often made a virtue of necessity. They did the best they could with what they had. They were pioneering, and helped develop the kinescope recording process that was used before videotape. Alas, they were also proof that the early bird may get the worm, but sometimes it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.
September 3, 2008
Splendid live television
This must be one of the last entries of „They stand accused“. According to Wikipedia this weekly series was dropped by the Dumont Network in December 1954. There’s reference in the script to that same date a couple of times. The story was mildly interessting, the cast seemed able but unispired. They had to correct their lines time and again and couldn’t even agree on the name of the five-year old, whose fate the trial was all about. In other words - splendid live television.